How to Help Your Favorite City Council Candidate on Election Day

Election Day is less than two weeks away on May 21st, and with such unusually competitive races for City Council, there are some real opportunities to make a difference for candidates you support by spending even just a couple hours volunteering to help them persuade voters, turn those voters out on Election Day, and make sure they’re provided with information about the candidate at their polling place

If you're still in need of Council candidate recommendations, here is the slate we're supporting in the primary. You can read their responses to our issue questionnaire at the link.

The first step is to reach out to campaigns directly to see where they need the most help. If one of these candidates is someone you're interested in helping, just click through on the list below to find their websites and volunteer sign-up pages.

Jamie Gauthier (3rd District)

Maria Quiñones Sánchez (7th District)

Judy Moore (10th District)

Eryn Santamoor (At Large)

Derek Green (At Large)

Allan Domb (At Large)


What are three ways to help your favorite candidates?

1. Direct voter contact is the name of the game. Research shows personal conversations with voters are the most effective way to win people over to support a candidate, and make sure they show up to vote on Election Day. So getting involved directly with a candidate's campaign and talking to likely voters at the door or on the phone on their behalf is the best way to help move votes.

That can include canvassing or phone banking for your favorite candidate(s), or volunteering with the campaigns on Election Day.

Our endorsed candidates need their supporters to volunteer at polling places on Election Day so they can make the final push before voters step into the voting booth.

You’d be surprised how many voters are still undecided when they get to the poll, and a quick conversation can be all it takes to get them excited about your favorite candidate.  

2. Poll watching is a crucial piece of any Election Day GOTV campaign, but to do it right you need a poll watcher certificate, and those can only be obtained through candidates' campaigns or through the Party. If you aren't a committee person, your best bet is to get a poll watcher certificate directly from a candidate’s campaign.

With a poll watcher certificate in hand, you're allowed to re-enter the polling place after voting to check and see how many people have voted already at any precinct, and which voters specifically, by looking at the voter cards. You can also help report any illegal electioneering activities to the District Attorney's office, like poll workers at the table advocating for specific candidates, or campaign literature being displayed in the voting area.

In particular, our endorsed district council candidates in contested primaries will need volunteer pollwatchers to ensure every voter’s right to vote in an atmosphere free of intimidation and coercion.  

However, while inside polling places, you cannot advocate or electioneer on behalf of candidates. A pollwatcher is there to watch. Do not interact with voters.

3. Window signs. "Yard signs don't vote," is a phrase you'll often hear from some campaign pros, who find yard sign distribution to be an ineffective distraction. However, the conventional wisdom about their effectiveness may have swung too far in that direction in certain situations. Particularly in a low-information local race, a little visibility can be helpful.

A yard sign on a highway median or a telephone poll isn't doing much to validate a candidate since telephone poles don't vote, but a candidate sign in your window can help validate that candidate to neighbors. This is an area where committee people—who by this point have likely had several political conversations with neighbors in their divisions—are in a good position to validate candidates they support.

This year, we have the opportunity to bring about a generational change on City Council—the longest-serving big city legislature in the country—and elect several exciting new progressive leaders who will bring a fresh set of eyes and experiences to Philadelphia’s toughest challenges. Just a few hours of talking to your neighbors over the next couple weeks could make all the difference.

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